‘Koondee Woonga-gat Toor-rong’ is the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community-Led Philanthropic Fund to be established that exclusively focuses on Victoria. Named for country by prominent Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Diane Kerr, Koondee Woonga-gat Toor-rong means “to give jointly, to share together” in Woiwurrung language.
It's officially launched on March 1st 2019 at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum and then will commence granting through its established networks with Woor-Dungin and the Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership from April onwards. It operates as a sub-fund within the Australian Communities Foundation.
The history of its formation is very interesting. A sub fund of Australian Communities Foundation called ‘Towards a Just Society’ had for 14 years supported Aboriginal people and communities in Victoria via its grant-making. Their members decided to transition the fund into Indigenous control and over the last two years engaged in a thoughtful and respectful transfer process to achieve this goal.
Koondee Woonga-gat Toor-rong will honour the legacy of Towards A Just Society and their belief in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agency by evolving its own distinctive Indigenous grant-making vision and practice, based around traditional cultural values and the principle of self-determination. The hope is that Koondee Woonga-gat Toor-rong goes from strength to strength and achieves a prominent profile as a game-changing player in the Victorian Indigenous philanthropic context.
It will also seek to promote investment through government, philanthropic and community partnerships.